It’s rare to find exercises that are completely new, even to athletes that have competed at the professional level. But Sports Science Lab has done just that. Listing professional football, volleyball, hockey, baseball players, along with gymnasts, martial artists (including legend Georges St. Pierre, pictured above), boxers and olympians as clients, their California studio attracts athletes looking to get better or return from injury. They look at the body as a whole, focusing training on the central nervous system (essential to speed and power) and proper body mechanics. One of my favorite parts of their training regimen is that they start every athlete off by working on the FEET – the video above explains why. Below are specific examples of exercises – for equipment, the home depot will sell similar pipes pre-cut for maybe $5-6 each, and you can buy the wood to make the slant board there as well, covering it in skateboard (or stair) grip tape, glueing together with wood glue. Likewise, you can buy the poles that they like to use for balance, or you can use long sticks from a home improvement store and cut them, costing less than $1, though you may surprise yourself in how quickly you will no longer need them for balance.
I personally use the pipe exercises often – I find them great for balance, opening up the foot’s many (33!) joints, and once you do them without using poles for balance, they are great for promoting postural alignment. I have also found that the slant board exercises allow my feet to take more of the strain when moving laterally, versus my ankles feeling it – if you do not have enough movement in the joints of your feet, another joint must move extra to compensate for this. This is one of the reasons why you see more knee injuries in athletes that wear heavy ankle braces – the subject of a post later this week!